UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
streetmagix
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:12 am

When a business is suffering then there are 2 schools of thought about trying to remain profitable: austerity or investment.

I've just gotten back from Seaworld Orlando, a park which has suffered a drop an attendance drop from almost 6 million per year down to 4.4 million per year. They responded by building a B&M hyper coaster, revamping Kraken, building a new water ride and have cut ticket prices. 

When Ryanair has issues it starts issuing *lower* fares to entice people back.

Or you could go the austerity route, cutting services and opening times. Tesco tried this when their 'something for everyone' policy backfired. It made things worse for a while before they started rebounding. It also happened to American Adventure and Pleasureland Southport. Within a few years both closed down.

Merlin are big enough to weather this storm in the same way Tesco managed to. However the tale of Geauga Lake (which I recommend people research into) shows that a big firm may be willing to closedown their biggest / flagship park. 
 
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RobHand
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:07 am

Forgive me if this has already been mentioned. But why invest in a brand new hotel, and build a multi million pound ride, if you can’t afford to keep existing rides operating all day? Don’t get me wrong, we all wanted a new coaster. Cool. But is it worth all of the cuts that have been made else where ?

It really does not make sense to me. They keep building more accommodation but the visitors are not increasing ?

I don’t get their game plan.
I really want to book my visit for my annual trip, but I am actually considering thinking twice about it, unless something changes :/
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Hazard
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:12 pm

Also as well, are they doing this to try and increase fast track tickets for the rides only open for 4 hours? Or will it not make much difference as subsequently they also lose money on fast track between 10am-12pm? 
 
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SmileAlways
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:15 pm

What I don't understand is why Congo River Rapids has become a seasonal attraction? It can't be due to the weather as we go in September every year and a lot of the time the weather is actually really warm. Nor can it be due to not wanting to have it operate in the dark, it was open for Scarefest with a 3pm-4pm close.
If you hear people singing random songs on a rollercoaster, it's probably me and my best friend #SmileAlways

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Dan
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:22 pm

SmileAlways wrote:
What I don't understand is why Congo River Rapids has become a seasonal attraction? It can't be due to the weather as we go in September every year and a lot of the time the weather is actually really warm. Nor can it be due to not wanting to have it operate in the dark, it was open for Scarefest with a 3pm-4pm close.


I believe it’s all down to staffing costs and lack of operational budget.

After the incident at Drayton Manor, the Rapids ran with at least 8 staff members. Compared to attractions like The Blade, Battle Galleons and Enterprise, it is so labour intensive. Rapids themselves aren’t cheap to run as it is, without the extra staff that Merlin deemed to be necessary.

I would much rather the Rapids be ran on a seasonal basis than not ran at all, which I guarantee would have been discussed at some point.
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ponder
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:46 pm

streetmagix wrote:
 Tesco tried this when their 'something for everyone' policy backfired. It made things worse for a while before they started rebounding. It also happened to American Adventure and Pleasureland Southport. Within a few years both closed down.

Merlin are big enough to weather this storm in the same way Tesco managed to. However the tale of Geauga Lake (which I recommend people research into) shows that a big firm may be willing to closedown their biggest / flagship park. 

Tesco turned things around by making everything about the customer. Something Merlin/AT could do well to learn from.
 
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Nickolai
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:18 pm

Whether this is the same thing or not but recently Tesco made a significant change to their club card points offer on attractions and restaurants which many people hated however, Tesco have listened and are now pushing this condition further back. Although it isn't ideal, Tesco listened to their customers and made a significant change.
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ROYJESS
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:28 pm

SmileAlways wrote:
What I don't understand is why Congo River Rapids has become a seasonal attraction? It can't be due to the weather as we go in September every year and a lot of the time the weather is actually really warm. Nor can it be due to not wanting to have it operate in the dark, it was open for Scarefest with a 3pm-4pm close.

It will also be closed during the Easter Holidays,  with the exception of the battle galleons (which is not worth going on), looks like there won't be much water rides operating now.   As much as I love rollercoasters,  I just don't want to ride rollercoasters all day long, it's nice to have some alternative choice of rides too.
 
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:07 pm

RobHand wrote:
Forgive me if this has already been mentioned. But why invest in a brand new hotel, and build a multi million pound ride, if you can’t afford to keep existing rides operating all day? Don’t get me wrong, we all wanted a new coaster. Cool. But is it worth all of the cuts that have been made else where ?

It really does not make sense to me. They keep building more accommodation but the visitors are not increasing ?


This is what does it for me I've been saying since the new hotel was announced, theyve already got 2 of them which never seem at capacity why not remodel splashlandings? Just seems to me like an investment with no reason behind. I know it might entice more families but I don't really buy it considering the other accommodation available.
 
abigsmurf
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:20 pm

Alton Towers for the day requires me to be driving 7 hours in total. Frankly I'm not sure it's worth it now. 

This is simply shameful. Family rides either torn down, closed for large parts of the year and/or only operating from 12PM. You're forced around the park by the staggered openings of the other rides (can't take the cablecar of course) so you can tire yourself out and pass all the closed rides and outlets along the way.

This is a great way to rob all the excitement for the new ride, wasting the money spent on it attempting to boost visitor figures. How many people will return to the park if they wake up at 5am, drive for hours, find most of the park closed when they get through the front gates and then fail to ride everything, not because of crowds but because they had such a small window to ride them. If families are feeling ripped off, they won't want to stay at the hotel either.
 
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ROYJESS
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:45 am

Don't forget that the Smiler and Oblivion don't operate if wind gust reaches 30mph +  So avoid windy days otherwise there be even less choice of rides in the mornings
 
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DeadJack5
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:50 am

Alton Towers appear to have reworked their staggered opening times for their rides. Instead of some rides being open from 11am and the rest opening at 12pm, all rides will be open by 11am.

This full information can be found here: https://www.altontowers.com/useful-info/opening-times/
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Dan
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:02 pm

In addition to the above, Congo River Rapids will now be open for the entire 2018 season.
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Adz
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:40 pm

A huge step in the right direction. 

I'm hoping their new flexible approach to closing times is actually put into practise. They tried it a few years back and it was rarely used. 
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DeadJack5
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:47 pm

I'm very happy with this decision. At least all rides will be open at 11am and the Rapids will be open all season.

I think they did extend some opening hours for the park last year, on the odd few days where the closing time was extended by half hour-an hour if I'm remembering correctly
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hursty
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:10 pm

Really good news, whilst having not attempting it in the first place would have prevented reputational harm, it is at least a strong sign that they were willing to look again.
I suspect the fact it was starting to gain mainstream news coverage (although local), and was eroding the impact of the SW8 launch would have been factors.
It'll be interesting to see whether cuts are needed elsewhere to fund the changes, or perhaps an admission that they need to preserve a higher standard of guest experience and take a hit on profit margins.
But positive move so far :-)
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RobHand
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:15 pm

This news has given me slight faith in Merlin again. Showing they are listening to the opinions of their customers.

But on the other hand, it shouldn't take an uproar in negative comments for them to listen. I almost feel like they were testing the waters to see what they could get away with before people started to complain.

I have mixed feelings, but I am happy in their decision to keep Congo River Rapids open all year, and to revise opening times.
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Tom170499
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:01 pm

Part of me thinks this was planned all along. Create attention by cutting the operating hours, receive complaints, and then make changes based on feedback. It gives them some publicity (albeit negative), and shows they they “listen to guest feedback”. The exact same thing happened last year... 
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lewis97
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:02 pm

This revision of the staggered and seasonal openings is obviously a positive move, although it just seems silly that the last couple of years have seen a similar pattern of announcing these sort of cutbacks and then having to backtrack a few days later following the negative PR it causes. It almost certainly comes as a result of the budgetary constraints placed on the Resort by Merlin, with them probably trying to minimise costs as far as possible without impacting on guest satisfaction too significantly - although I think it's fair to say they misjudged it by a lot on this occasion.

However, we are arguably still faced with a worse situation than last year in terms of Early Ride Time and the staggered openings. ERT is still only half an hour and sees a slight reduction in the number of attractions available, although the inclusion of Wicker Man is some consolation, and I suppose removing it as a perk for those who purchase tickets online could be seen as a positive by those still entitled to it. We are also still potentially seeing staggered openings across more of the park than we did last season, with the closing times (and the flexibility of these) remaining to be seen.

Of course we are more willing to accept the above given what we were faced with on Monday, but this still doesn't seem like the big comeback we were expecting from the Resort given that this season sees the opening of their latest Secret Weapon. Hopefully, the flexible approach the Resort are taking with their opening and closing times will however bring some pleasant surprises as the season progresses.
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Joel Allen
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Re: Alton Towers Resort - General Discussion

Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:13 pm

Thank God! I'm very very pleased to hear the rapids will be a non-seasonal attraction again, and I can get some earlier rides on good old Nemmy! (As well as Galactica and The Blade of course!)

Thank you Alton!

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